Birth Doulas

Northeast Iowa Doulas | Celebrating National Nurses Week: Meet a L&D Nurse

It's National Nurses Week!

We would like to take a moment to acknowledge the very important roles nurses have - they truly are the heart of the medical team. 
Our area OB nurses, labor and delivery nurses, and pediatric nurses are patient, kind, caring, supportive, and compassionate; the best Iowa has to offer. 
They absolutely love their job and it shows.

In honor and celebration of this special week, we took some time to interview some fantastic nurses in the Cedar Valley. We at Northeast Iowa Doulas are so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such wonderful hospital staff, while caring for and supporting our clients.
Thank you for always welcoming us to be part of the birth team and thank you for all you do.

Don't forget to thank a nurse this week!

We had the pleasure of interviewing Bethany Anderson. She is a labor and delivery nurse at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo. I would like to share a little bit about my very first experience with Bethany.

My laboring client, her partner, and I had walked into the room to find Bethany standing there waiting for us. She greeted us with a big smile, introduced herself and immediately said, 

"I am so happy to see you have a doula! I love doulas."  
"Do you have a birth plan? I love birth plans."

And she truly meant it.

It was an amazing experience working alongside Bethany, from beginning to end. Our clients have had nothing but wonderful things to say about Bethany and the care she has provided them during one of the most momentous occasions of their lives.

NEID-Kaity: How long have you been a nurse? Where did you attend school?

Bethany: I have been a nurse for just over 4 years. I completed my General Education classes at Hawkeye Community College and then Graduated from Allen College School of Nursing in December 2012. I then became a labor and delivery nurse in March of 2013.

NEID-Kaity: What inspired you to become a nurse?

Bethany: Being a nurse is something I've known I wanted to do since I was a child. There was never a question in my mind of what I was meant to do in my life. I am a third generation nurse. As a child I spent a lot of time at my Grandma Phyllis' house, who was a labor and delivery nurse for 19 years, and so she always had a lot of stories to tell and we would always watch labor and delivery shows on tv together. She continues to be my inspiration every day, and her picture will always stay on my locker at work.

NEID-Kaity: What do you enjoy most about being a L&D nurse?

Bethany: The best part of my job is getting to be part of my patient's story. Everyone that I encounter while I'm at work are in the middle of a huge life shift, and I get to be part of it. I get to watch women become mommies, and men become daddies. I get to watch children become big brothers and sisters, and parents become grandparents. I get to guide people through the most exciting moments in their lives. I get to watch women be in the most painful moment in their lives, and then conquer it. I get to watch the reactions of parents who find out the gender of their baby. I feel I'm pretty blessed to be able to spend my days guiding others in the most exciting moments of their lives. 

NEID-Kaity: What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?

Bethany: The worst part of my job is bringing angels into the world. It's something that will never be easy. It will never be easy to see a mommy leave the hospital without her baby. I can't imagine the pain that comes with losing a child, so all I hope to be is a friendly hand, or a sturdy shoulder. If that's the only difference I can make, that's good enough for me.

NEID-Kaity: More expecting parents in the area are hiring out the professional labor/birth support services of a doula. How do you feel about that?

Bethany: Working with doulas is wonderful for me! Doulas are so helpful and supportive, and I think that when a woman is in the most trying moments in her life, she can never have too much support! 

NEID-Kaity: What is one thing you always say to laboring/birthing women?

Bethany: "This is temporary. It won't last forever. It won't be this painful forever. It's only today. It's only right now."
I try to encourage and empower every woman. I think women tend to look at labor as a whole and think "there's no way I can do that" but I like to tell my patients to take one contraction at a time, one moment at a time. I think that when a woman is in labor, you have to take each case in itself. The only thing that I try to be is supportive, regardless of my patients choices. If my patient chooses an epidural over natural childbirth or bottle feeding over breast feeding, I support her all the way. 

NEID-Kaity: What advice would you give to an expecting parent as they are approaching their due date?

Bethany: My biggest advice for someone nearing their due date would be to educate yourself on your options, so you know what you want. Also, I try to tell my patients to really enjoy the last moments before their families grow, before all their energy goes towards this new little one.

NEID-Kaity: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Bethany: In my spare time I like to spend time with my 5 month old son, my husband, my nephews, and my family. I also like to play volleyball, and knit or crochet when I have time.

NEID-Kaity: What is your favorite food?

Bethany: My favorite food is any type of dessert with chocolate, caramel or peanut butter! 

NEID-Kaity: Do you have a favorite memory of being at work that you would like to share?

Bethany: I have many great memories about my days at work, but my craziest delivery has to be an unplanned, very fast vaginal breech delivery for a first time mom of a healthy baby boy! My heart has never beat faster!


Thank you for taking the time to chat with me, Bethany. You are amazing and each one of your patients are so lucky to have you as their nurse. We look forward to working with you again soon.
Happy National Nurses Week to you!

Working in a Salon Made me a Better Doula

That’s right; because I worked as a salon receptionist, I am a better doula. Now, you may be wondering how that works out. What does working in a salon have to do with being a doula? Surprisingly, A LOT!

I’ll be the first to say I never thought I would work in a salon; it’s just not my thing. I took the job just a few months after graduating from college with a degree in the social sciences. Coincidentally, this was also a few weeks after completing my first doula training. My friends and family were baffled, and I felt so judged.

“THIS has nothing to do with your future!”
“How are you going to make time for your clients?”
“You’re going to drive an hour to work to answer the phones?”

 
but I needed a job...

Feeling judged is not a good feeling. I felt like people thought I was taking a job that was below me. Several comments were made about how I could do better than that. They didn't understand that working was something I needed to do in order to support myself financially.
 
"That's a job for someone in high school." Yes, a few people actually said this to me. They might as well have told me I was wasting my time and my education meant nothing. 

Like I said, I had just graduated from college and moved back home to Minnesota. Oh, I had also just left my previous job as a caregiver which was very flexible and full of wonderful benefits. I was running out of money fast so I held my head high and took the job nobody saw me working in. Through this I gained self-confidence and so much more.

When I started I couldn’t tell you the difference between an ombré and a balayage or the difference between a double process and a dimensional color; I had no idea how long a perm took versus how long a foil took. Despite my lack of experience and knowledge, the amazing women I worked with at the salon were more than willing to help me figure it all out.

During my time at the salon I saw and heard a lot of things.
 
-People preparing for their weddings
-Women who had been cheated on
-Young adults who just wanted to fit in
-People who had lost their loved ones
-Girls who let a friend color their hair blonde using a cheap box dye only to have it turn out bright orange (Note: please don’t do this!)

Some of the things I learned while working at the salon include:

-How to connect with customers in person and over the phone
-Knowing what to say to make people feel like their very best
-How to talk people through a major life crisis
-How to hold my tongue when I had a million things I could have said
-How to manage my time to call 35 people in one day.

How to be the best ‘me’ I could be…

Because I worked in that salon I have the skills to support you and tell you we're going to figure out a way to get you through this; even if you’re in a fog at the moment. I specialize in providing you with personalized professional support as we work together to meet the needs of you and your family.

Have you ever taken a job position at a place you never thought you would see yourself in? What was the result?

My ending results turned out to be amazing. Everything we go through in life is a learning experience and I believe there are lessons to be learned, skills to be taught, and knowledge to be gained with each life experience. 

Everything I learned during my time at the salon translates over into helping me provide the best unwavering, unbiased and unconditional support as an affiliate doula at Northeast Iowa Doulas.  Life is not entirely predictable; yet we are always able to learn and to grow from our experiences, and if we're lucky, we can find surprising gifts of insight and experience by enduring what we had hoped to avoid.
This can help us connect with others -- to know that they are not alone.  We are all doing the best we can. We are doing what we need to do in our own unique situation.

For more information about our professional doula services click here or contact us today for more information. 

We look forward to hearing from you!

Written by: Victoria Cartland
Edited by: Kaity Klotzbach 

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For more great #WorldDoulaWeek blogs from doulas across the country, visit http://louisvilleareadoulas.com/blog/2016-world-doula-week

Natural Birth Only? Let's Put That Misconception to Rest.

There is a common stereotype that doulas are only for those planning a “natural” birth. This can have many meanings but oftentimes refers to an unmedicated labor resulting in a vaginal delivery. Many have said they haven’t even considered hiring a doula because they already know they want pain relief via IV meds or the epidural. Well, we want to take a moment to shout it from the rooftop:

NORTHEAST IOWA DOULAS SUPPORTS ALL BIRTH CHOICES!!!

Seriously...We don’t come in with that “natural birth agenda.”  We support you in whatever your birth preferences are; period.

Unmedicated? Great!
Epidural? We love epidurals!
IV pain meds during labor? Fantastic!
Planned cesarean? Super!
Change in plans? We've got your back!


It is so important for a laboring mother and her partner to feel safe, supported and as comfortable as possible when they are working so hard to bring their baby into the world.

Another misconception is that your doula is your advocate…

This should NOT be the case. It is completely out of the scope of a doula to speak on their client’s behalf. We will not take away your voice by speaking for you in any situation but will empower you to speak for yourself. OB’s, midwives, nurses, and family practice docs did not get into this profession so that they could purposely inflict harm or discomfort in their patients. We truly believe that healthcare professionals want you to have a great experience just as much as you want to have a great experience. We look at our professional birth support as complementary to the clinical care you receive from your providers. Northeast Iowa Doulas has fantastic working relationships with the healthcare professionals in the Cedar Valley and Corridor areas. They know that when one of our doulas walks into the room, we are there to be a team player and collaborate with them to provide the best overall care to the mother and her partner.

"Providers are focused on healthy moms and healthy babies. Doulas are focused on a healthy mind and a healthy bond." --Randy Patterson, ProDoula Co-Founder

So, what can you expect when you hire Northeast Iowa Doulas for something other than a planned ‘natural’ unmedicated birth?

Support for an Epidural
Oftentimes it can take up to an hour before the anesthesiologist arrives in all his glory. It can be very difficult to sit still through contractions while the epidural is being placed. Once in place, it can take a good 20 minutes or longer before the epidural is providing much pain relief.

While waiting for anesthesia to arrive we can offer support by:

  • offering an explanation about what to expect

  • verbal coaching, praise and encouragement

  • massage, counter pressure or position changes

  • relaxation techniques (taught in our childbirth education class)

Once your epidural has been placed and has taken effect we can offer support by:

  • Position changes, massage, utilizing the peanut ball in bed

  • Keeping mom engaged in the process if she desires or assisting her in a position that allows her to get some much needed rest

  • Maintaining a relaxing and comfortable environment

  • Keeping the focus on mom and her partner; not the monitors

There are times when the epidural does not work or sometimes it only works on one side and this can be very frustrating to a laboring mother who is expecting a pain-free labor and delivery. Attempts can be made by the anesthesiologist to place another epidural but sometimes it just doesn’t work. Then what? Then your doula is there with her skills and knowledge to support you through it.


Support for a planned cesarean
This includes but is not limited to:

  • Prenatal discussion about the process:
         -Checking into the hospital    
         -Administration of medications 
         -Preparation for surgery and being brought back to the OR
         -Assistance with creating a family-centered cesarean birth plan

     
  • Support during admission while waiting to go back to the OR:
         -Creating a relaxing environment   
         -Massage and other comfort measures
         -Helping the family unpack for the hospital stay

     
  • Providing support to the mother's partner during the time they are separated
     
  • Assistance with breastfeeding after baby has arrived
     
  • Extended postpartum support in the hospital to help the family get settled

The 'wait-and-see' approach

Maybe you aren't sure what kind of birth experience you want...Maybe your only goal is a birth that results in a healthy mom and healthy baby. Great--We support that!

Maybe you like the idea of having a 'natural' unmedicated birth but you are totally open to pain relief options if and when they become needed. Fantastic--We support that, too!

Support when plans change

Sometimes things don’t go as planned and that is okay! Just because one part of your plan changes doesn’t mean the whole plan needs to go out the window. All of our doulas are trained and skilled in helping you transition when your birth experience is unfolding differently than you had hoped.

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We’ll say it again... We support ALL birth choices! We support you in whatever your plans for birth are and no matter how your birth unfolds.
Feel secure in the fact that a knowledgeable, reputable expert in birth support is there to unconditionally accompany you throughout every part of this experience.

By hiring Northeast Iowa Doulas you can be sure that you will receive only the best professional support that Iowa has to offer. For more information about our doula services click here or contact us today for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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For more great #WorldDoulaWeek blogs from doulas across the country, visit http://louisvilleareadoulas.com/blog/2016-world-doula-week

Co-authored by: Victoria Cartland & Kaity Klotzbach

 

 

The Northeast Iowa Doulas Difference

Northeast Iowa Doulas prides themselves in providing only the most professional, reliable, and experienced doulas to families in Northeast Iowa and beyond.  In order for us to achieve these results we have worked tirelessly to set ourselves apart in the Cedar Valley and the Corridor areas. We offer the best trained, highly educated and qualified doulas who will provide your family with unconditional, unbiased judgment-free support.


Our Certifying Organization
Each of our doulas are trained and certified, or pursuing certification through ProDoula. Being uniformly trained through the same organization ensures the very best continuity of care for the families we serve. Being part of ProDoula also allows us to be connected to an international network of professional doulas, whom we can turn to for advice or support at any time. Finally, ProDoula encourages members to continue their education where they provide ample opportunity for us to do so. Once we have completed a training through ProDoula we are encouraged to repeat that training as often as we like, at no additional cost. New trainings are being offered all the time and we make sure to take advantage of every single learning opportunity we can. We are proud to be affiliated with such an amazing certifying organization.


Continuing Education
Continuing education is very important to us at Northeast Iowa Doulas. Whether this is through additional training, workshops, mini training sessions within our agency, or attending meetings hosted by other professionals, we are continually gaining more knowledge in order to continue serving our clients to the best of all our abilities.


Something for Everyone
Northeast Iowa Doulas offers a wide variety of services your family may find beneficial during this journey. From private or group childbirth education, birth doulas, placenta encapsulation and postpartum support; we have something for everyone. We do it all!


24/7 on call Availability & Guaranteed Support for your Birth
When you choose Northeast Iowa Doulas for your professional birth support needs you will receive a team of two doulas who will go on call for you and your partner 24/7 from the moment the contract is signed up until after your baby has arrived. You have unlimited access to your doula team anytime you have questions, worries, fears or even if you just want to talk. This model of care guarantees you will have support during your birth from someone you and your partner know well. She is also someone who knows the two of you and is familiar with your birth preferences...no more back up doula that you never even got to meet. We’ve got you covered!
 

Unwavering and Unbiased Support for ALL choices
Finally, we will unconditionally provide your family with support that is completely free from judgment, opinion or bias. This means no worrying about someone judging you about the choices you make regarding pregnancy, birth, and parenting. The only agenda your doula has is to support you in your choices; period. Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle feed, or whether you plan use attachment parenting or scheduled parenting or anything in between; the choices are yours and you can rest easy knowing that your doula will have your back each step of the way.

In Conclusion
By hiring a doula from Northeast Iowa Doulas you can be sure that you will receive only the best professional doula support, childbirth education, and placenta encapsulation services that Iowa has to offer.

For more information about the wide variety of services we offer please click here or contact us today for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Authored by: Victoria Cartland
Edited by: Kaity Klotzbach

 

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